Imagining Islam: Can one speak of a scientific understanding of Islam, or must one rather talk about the Western way of imagining Islam?

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In a short account designed for a broad Western audience, it is useful and even necessary to start with that question. Ever since the 1940s when national liberation movements emerged, there have been continual debates on this issue, many of them sharp and passionate. Continue reading “Imagining Islam: Can one speak of a scientific understanding of Islam, or must one rather talk about the Western way of imagining Islam?”

The Metamorphosis — Franz Kafka

Song of the Day: ‘I Feel So Smoochie’ by Kurt Elling

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“A novella about a man who finds himself transformed into a huge insect, and the effects of this change upon his life.” That was the summary on the back of the copy of The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka I recently checked out from the library to read for the purpose of this review. Now with a summary such as that, I can hardly see why one would pick up such a book in the first place. However, I read this book years ago, actually a few months before I read Nikolai Gogol’s short story, The Nose, and at the time I was struck by the similarities of both, and was left wondering why two men, a century apart were both fascinated by the idea of a man transforming into something less than human: one into a giant bug, the other reduced to a nose.

Our protagonist, Gregor Samsa wakes up one morning to find that he’s become a near human-sized beetle (probably of the scarab family, if his household’s charwoman is to be believed), and not a particularly robust specimen at that. His reaction is understandable. He is confused, bemused, and thinks that it’s a momentary delusion that will soon dissipate.

Continue reading “The Metamorphosis — Franz Kafka”

The Green Butchers (De Grønne Slagtere)

Song of the Day: ‘Death’ by Made in Heights

De Gr¿nne Slagtere

Not knowing what to do with myself on a Saturday evening, after having spent the afternoon in bed sick and feeling sorry for myself, I decided to entertain myself with a movie.

Anywho, if you have ever seen a Scandinavian movie, you already know that they usually tend to be on the more morbid end, but this movie The Green Butchers is plain weird.

Continue reading “The Green Butchers (De Grønne Slagtere)”

The Hobbit Trilogy – A Lesson in Less is More

Song of the Day: ‘I See Fire’ by Ed Sheeran

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In 2010 when I first heard that Peter Jackson would direct The Hobbit; I almost cried in excitement. That was soon followed by the news that it would consist of two parts. A little sceptical but still excited. Then those two movies were soon changed into three and I was baffled. I had my reservations. And I realised my reservations were spot-on as soon as I came out of the cinema after watching the first instalment. Argh! Why drag out a 300-page book, that could have been a 3-hour epic at most, into 3 movies? A year later, having watched the second movie, my irritation with Jackson had increased. And now another year, the last instalment watched, I can say that I am just glad that the whole fiasco is over.

Continue reading “The Hobbit Trilogy – A Lesson in Less is More”

Five Fascinating Facts about George Orwell’s 1984

1984 by George Orwell has always been one of my favourite books. A wonderful post full of little gems by “Interesting Literature”. Quite an enjoyable read.

Interesting Literature

1. George Orwell’s classic novel Nineteen Eighty-Four was published on this day, 8 June, in 1949. But this wasn’t the original title of the novel. According to the introduction to the Penguin Classics edition, Orwell initially planned to set the novel in 1980; this then became 1982, and finally 1984 (or Nineteen Eighty-Four, as the title is usually rendered).

Orwell12. Orwell named Room 101 after a conference room in BBC Broadcasting House. In this room, during the Second World War, he had to sit through tedious meetings when he worked for the Ministry of Information. Indeed, the Ministry also served as the inspiration for the Ministry of Truth, where the novel’s protagonist, Winston Smith, works. ‘Room 101’ has, of course, entered wider linguistic use as a term for something containing one’s pet hates or worst fears. Although the novel also popularised the terms ‘thoughtcrime’ and ‘thought police’, these…

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